Danielle Smith. Canadian Press

 

Edmonton – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith threw down the gauntlet over the recently announced proposed Clean Electricity Regulations. On Aug. 14, she rejected those proposals vehemently.

These are her verbaim opening remarks in that press conference. Pipeline Online will delve further into her remarks, but these are the jist of Smith’s, and the Government of Alberta’s, position:

I do want to speak about the proposed clean electricity regulations that Ottawa announced last week. To say they’re disappointing is an understatement. They are unconstitutional, irresponsible and utterly out of step with reality. If they become the law of the land, these regulations would crush Albertans’ finances, and they would also cause dramatic increases in electricity bills for families and businesses across Canada.

We agree with the broader goal of decarbonizing the electricity grid and getting to carbon neutrality. We have a plan to get there by 2050. It’s our emissions reduction and electric energy development plan. But a 2035 target is not attainable. Ottawa’s own forecast expects electricity demand to double between now and 2050. As it is now, Canada’s electricity grid, including Alberta’s, can’t handle the increased load that is coming. And the draft regulations will severely threaten the reliability of the our power grid even more, leading to potential blackouts that would be devastating.

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To meet these demands, we will need to grow our generating capacity by up to three times of present levels, growing that capacity to accelerate the shift to a net-zero power grid would cost Canadians more than a trillion dollars, by some estimates. Alberta’s portion of that would be at least $200 billion and maybe as much as $400 billion of mandated investments in new generation and transmission capacity.

If this was implemented in Alberta, we’re looking at massive immediate increases to power bills for every Albertan, making life more expensive for families and businesses.

So let me be clear, any plan that makes electricity more expensive, and less reliable, is a bad plan. And the clean electricity regulations are an exceptionally bad poorly thought out and illogical plan. This nonsensical plan by the federal Liberals will strain our family finances. As food and shelter keep getting more expensive, families shouldn’t have to bear the burden of skyrocketing power prices. And this plan will make it more difficult for businesses to break even, let alone to survive.

Ottawa’s strategy seems to be to placate the environmental extremists, while throwing regular Canadians under the bus. That’s wrong. It’s unacceptable, morally and financially. And Alberta’s government will not go along with that. We will never allow these regulations to be implemented here, full stop.

This doesn’t mean that we’re closing the door on cooperation with the federal government. We’ve been clear that we are willing to look at, to work with them, to build a carbon-neutral electricity system that is affordable, reliable and secure. And, based on the conversations we have had with our power generations, we believe it can be done by 2050, but not by 2035.

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And any plan must recognize that we can only cut emissions as fast as technology and infrastructure and people’s pocketbooks will allow. Emissions reductions are essential, and Alberta will continue to achieve them. But grand sweeping fairytales that threaten Canadians ability to keep the lights on are no way to speed things up.

That is not the vision that my government, or that I have, for Albertans. We’ll participate in the upcoming joint working group, which includes decarbonizing the power grid, because Alberta has always been a leader in emissions reductions. And because it’s important that we continue that leadership, while expressing our strong concerns that we have for these new regulations. However, the outcome must be one that Albertans can afford, and can support. There is no room for argument on this.

If we can’t reach an agreement, Alberta will pursue its own better path and will protect Albertans from the ruinous consequences of the latest federal policies. This will be accomplished by ensuring an appropriate amount of high efficiency natural gas baseload is added to the grid, while incentivizing carbon capture, utilization and storage, abated natural gas generation, small modular reactors, hydrogen generation and a sustainable amount of wind solar and other renewables to drive down electricity costs.

We must continue ensuring that life for Albertans and Canadians is affordable and that families can pay their bills because without economic sustainability, progress on energy sustainability is impossible. That’s the message we were we would like to take to Ottawa every chance that we get.

 

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Wind power in Alberta falls to 0.8% three days after province pumps brakes on wind and solar development

Total flatline: For 3 hours, 17 minutes on Sunday, not one lightbulb in Saskatchewan was powered by grid-scale wind